Taiwanese filmmaker Ang Lee says China's boycott of Taiwan's Golden Horse film awards demonstrates how politics can take its toll on the arts.
Beijing's order to give Saturday night's awards show the cold shoulder was part of its campaign to rachet up economic and political pressure on the island it claims as its own territory.
Speaking to reporters Saturday night, Lee said politics was "an aspect we do not want to see. But we have to face it, because we live in this world."
"Everybody knows it, it is indeed a loss, no matter the red carpet or the films," said Lee, the festival's chair. "But of course, our best films, I personally think that they are not less good than the previous years. We still have very good films this year."
China held its own Golden Rooster film awards Saturday, featuring films approved by Communist Party censors.
Even without the ban, Chinese artists might have found it difficult to attend after Beijing issued a ban on solo travel to Taiwan beginning Sept. 1.
Chinese participation came into doubt following last year's ceremony, when documentary director Fu Yue said in her award acceptance speech that she hoped the world would one day recognize Taiwan as an independent country, something only a handful of nations currently do.
Taiwan split from mainland China amid civil war in 1949, but Beijing considers the self-ruled island part of its territory.
Speakers at Saturday's Golden Horse Awards also expressed support for anti-government protesters in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory of Hong Kong.
Entertainment figures in Taiwan and Hong Kong have routinely been blacklisted in China after expressing pro-independence or pro-democracy views.
The second edition of IDLC Theatre Festival, a five-day special initiative of IDLC Finance Limited, concluded on Saturday at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA).
Marking the conclusion, theatre troupe Arshinagar staged its play ‘Rahu Chandler Har’ from the adaptation of Abhijit Sen’s novel at the Experimental Theatre Hall of BSA at 5 pm .
The play was then followed by the much-acclaimed production of Theatre (Bailey Road), ‘Payer AwajPawa Jay’ at 8:30 pm at the National Theatre Hall of BSA.
Ten of the top theater groups in Bangladesh participated in this year’s theatre festival. They are- Dhaka University’s Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, Nattochokkro, Tarua, Podatik Nattyo Shongshod, Dhaka Theatre, Arshinagar, Somoy Nattodol, Theater, Shobdo Nattochorcha Kendro and Nagorik Nattyangon.
Started in 2018 for the first time, this year’s five day long special festivity arranged by IDLC Finance Limited was inaugurated on November 19, 2019 by former Minister for Cultural Affairs and veteran actor-theatre activist Asaduzzaman Noor. I
DLC’s CEO & MD Arif Khan along with the special guest Ramendu Majumdar, President of International Theatre Institution (ITI) was also present on the occasion.
Minutes after an NBA game ended Friday night, the Utah Jazz's home arena was evacuated because of a suspicious package.
Salt Lake City police said the package turned out to be a toolbox, and the Jazz said employees were cleared by authorities to re-enter the building a couple of hours after the evacuation.
Most fans had already exited Vivint Smart Home Arena following Utah's 113-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors when players, coaches and reporters were instructed to leave immediately.
Not long after both coaches finished answering postgame questions from the media, a spokesman for the Jazz told reporters to exit the building due to the suspicious package. Outside, they were directed by security to leave the premises.
Utah players quickly headed for their cars in the parking lot — center Rudy Gobert was still in uniform as he left. Warriors players boarded their team bus.
Salt Lake City police Lt. Carlos Valencia said he received a call about the package from an officer working part-time at the game around 9:30 p.m. Valencia said the suspicious package looked like a shoebox and was discovered under a table behind a restaurant in the northeast corner of the arena.
"With that information, my next step was to call the bomb squad to have them come out, secure, and render the suspicious package safe," he said. "From what I was told by the officers, was that the arena K-9 bomb dogs got a hit on the package. By the time I arrived, they had already secured the area."
Valencia said the sellout crowd was already starting to leave when the evacuation began.
"We wanted to take all precautions necessary because public safety is paramount to us," he said.
In a statement, the Jazz said Salt Lake City police issued an "all-clear" at 11:32 p.m., and employees were permitted to re-enter the building to prepare for Saturday night's Jazz home game.
"Guest safety is the top priority at Vivint Smart Home Arena. At the conclusion of the Utah Jazz-Golden State game, an employee noticed an unattended package on the main concourse. Upon further examination, it was concluded that we would enact our emergency action plan. Security was promptly alerted and guests were diverted away from the area and cleared from the arena. Salt Lake City Police Department assumed control of the situation, executing its suspicious package protocol," the Jazz said.
"We would like to thank fans for their attention and cooperation, as well as the Salt Lake City Police Department for their responsiveness and partnership."
Rapper and actor Eric B. was sentenced to a year's probation Friday stemming from a motor vehicle stop and police chase that occurred nearly 19 years ago but wasn't resolved because he failed to show up for his sentencing.
Eric B., whose real name is Eric Barrier, spent two weeks in the Bergen County jail before his release last week, after the 17-year-old bench warrant surfaced when he was returning to the U.S. from Canada.
Barrier, accompanied by several friends who spoke on his behalf during the sentencing, said afterward that state Superior Court Judge James Guida was "firm but fair." The 54-year-old New York City native apologized during a brief statement to the court.
"I'm glad it's over," he said outside the courthouse.
Eric B. and Rakim are known as one of the greatest hip-hop duos of all time. Barrier most recently has been on the CBS show "Blue Bloods." Barrier said he currently is touring and was heading to a show in Delaware.
Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Ron McCormick had argued for a jail term, though he conceded that the original 364-day sentence Barrier faced in 2002 "probably is not appropriate."
McCormick argued that sentencing Barrier to probation would send the message to other defendants that they could skip sentencing, lead a productive life and come back years later to get a better deal.
"I don't think that's justice, I don't think it's fair, I don't think it's a deterrent," he said.
Guida apparently was sympathetic to a degree, as he imposed a condition that if Barrier doesn't comply with rules of his probation over the next nine months, he will spend the last three months in jail.
Barrier has claimed that his attorney at the time, Paul Bergrin, told him he didn't have to attend the original sentencing because he'd been accepted into a pretrial diversion program that would allow him to avoid jail. On Friday, Guida said he viewed the claim skeptically.
Bergrin currently is serving multiple life terms after being convicted of racketeering and conspiring to murder a witness against one of his other clients.
Barrier's current attorney, Patrick Toscano, said Barrier has traveled abroad extensively and the bench warrant never came up, and that the first time it did, Barrier turned himself in.
According to a police report read in court by Guida, Barrier was stopped in northern New Jersey, just outside New York, in January 2001 when police noticed his Range Rover didn't have front license plates or an inspection sticker. When they pulled him over, he exited his car but eventually drove away and led several officers on a chase, and hit several cars including police vehicles, according to the report.
Actress Zhao Shuzhen, who has captivated audiences with her performance as the grandmother in "The Farewell," is essentially unknown to most American audiences. Go to her IMDB page and it looks as though writer-director Lulu Wang's real-life family drama is her only credit. But that couldn't be further from the truth. In her native China, the 75-year-old is not only a veteran of stage and screen, she's also a big star.
It was a pivotal role for the film and for Wang personally. "The Farewell" is based on the filmmaker's actual life, in which her family discovers that their beloved grandmother is terminally ill, decides to keep that fact from her and stages a wedding so they have an excuse to gather everyone together to say goodbye. The heart of the film, which is currently available on home video and has awards buzz behind it, is about the relationship between Wang's alter-ego Billi (Awkwafina) and her grandmother Nai Nai.
Shuzhen got her first awards season recognition on Thursday when the Film Independent Spirit Awards nominated her for an acting prize; "The Farewell" was also nominated for best feature.
Word of mouth led Wang to Shuzhen, who had never acted in an American production before. Diana Lin, who had already been cast to play Billi's mother, recommended her to the director.
"I worked with her before and she was a great person to work with. Zhao is a great friend as well," Lin said. "She was the first person I thought of! I used to call her Cat-y Auntie (like Kitty) because the way she smiles is warm and soft and sweet. Also, when I was a little girl, probably about 14, I watched her theater plays because we were in the same theater company in Harbin City."
Shuzhen fell into acting almost accidentally. At age 16, she accompanied a friend to the Harbin Grand Theater in northeast China and ended up auditioning for the drama school as well.
"I didn't intend on becoming an actress," she said through a translator on a recent afternoon in Los Angeles. "The chief examiner gave me a scenario to play with and I very quickly entered into the mindset of the character and he thought I did a good job. But it's not as though at the time I had a particular passion for acting or interest in the career. It just sort of happened."
Over the next 40 years, she'd appear in over 100 plays with the company. But it wasn't until China Central Television (CCTV) launched in 1978 that she'd even have the opportunity to start acting in front of a camera. After that, she started making appearances on various television shows and dramas. Then in 1993 everything changed when she was cast as the mother on a popular show set during China's Cultural Revolution.
"People started to recognize me in the street. I became very popular and very famous because the show was a big hit," she said. "That was the first time I'd experienced being mobbed by fans who wanted my autograph or to take pictures.
And she hasn't stopped working since, but that work never took her to Hollywood, nor did she even think about trying to make a go of it on her own. So when she received word that Wang wanted to speak to her about the role, she was a little hesitant at first. In fact, Wang was told that they wouldn't be able to even afford her.
"I called and begged her, basically, and cried," Wang said. "(I) said, 'This is based on my own grandmother and I really need somebody who is as compassionate as she is strong. And I feel that you have both of those qualities. That makes you sort of iconic.' To me, she feels like my grandmother, your grandmother. She feels like everybody's grandmother."
"I became very moved and I started crying and it was at that juncture where I said I'll do this," Shuzhen said. "I could really sense her love for her grandma."
As a grandmother to two grandsons from her two daughters, it wasn't a stretch.
"I'm always concerned with the well-being of my grandchildren, asking them "Are you cold? Are you warm? If you're going out, drive safely. Do you have boyfriend or girlfriend yet?" Shuzhen said, laughing.
In fact, it is this kind of selflessness that makes her suspect that Nai Nai didn't even realize she was ill.
"She's not concerned with her own well-being. She's only concerned with the well-being of her children and grandchildren," she said. "She never thinks about herself."
Shuzhen is only now realizing the kind of impact her "Farewell" performance has made stateside, making the rounds in Los Angeles attending awards season parties, screenings and doing media appearances.
"I'm so grateful and delighted by the attention from the media, from the audiences, people asking for autographs and pictures," she said. "I know we're supposedly campaigning for awards season — we have similar kinds of events and interviews in China — but this is LA and Hollywood. As an actor, you can't help but be excited and inspired by being here."